JWM’s Best of 2020

Ahead of the upcoming Academy Awards, the culminating awards event of the movie season, I wanted to throw out my official “Best of 2020” picks for the movie year that was. I’ll stick with the adjusted release-date eligibility of the Oscars of February 28, 2021, so a few of the earlier releases of 2021 will be eligible in my rankings too.
BEST VISUALS (Cinematography, Visual Effects, Production/Costume Design, Hair/Make-up)
1. First Cow
2. Nomadland
3. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
4. The Father
5. Nadie Sabe Que Estoy Aqui [Nobody Knows I’m Here]
BEST AUDIO (Sound Editing/Mixing, Music)
1. First Cow
2. Minari
3. Sound of Metal
4. Judas and the Black Messiah
5. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Honourable Mentions: Nomadland; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Promising Young Woman
BEST SCREENPLAY
1. Eliza Hittman – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
2. Christopher Hampton, Florian Zeller – The Father
3. Darius Marder, Abraham Marder – Sound of Metal
4. Lee Isaac Chung – Minari
5. Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
6. Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
7. Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
8. James Sweeney – Straight Up
9. Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7
10. Antonio Campos, Paulo Campos – The Devil All the Time
Honourable Mentions: Eleanor Catton – Emma.; Alice Wu – The Half of It; Marinda July – Kajillionaire; Dan Scanlon, Jason Headley, Keith Bunin – Onward
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
1. Paul Raci – Sound of Metal
2. Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
3. Yuh-Jung Youn – Minari
4. Mark Rylance – The Trial of the Chicago 7
5. Talia Ryder – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
6. Sacha Baron Cohen – The Trial of the Chicago 7
7. Olivia Colman –The Father
8. Leslie Odom Jr. – One Night in Miami…
9. Olivia Cooke – Sound of Metal
10. Gina Rodriguez – Kajillionaire
Honourable Mentions: Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods; Jason Clarke – The Devil All the Time; Elizabeth Debicki – Tenet; Dominique Fishback – Judas and the Black Messiah; Johnny Flynn – Emma.; Richard Jenkins – Kajillionaire; Will Patton – Minari; Amanda Seyfried – Mank
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
2. Anthony Hopkins – The Father
3. Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
4. Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
5. Frances McDormand – Nomadland
6. Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
7. Zoey Duetch – Buffaloed
8. Carey Mulligan – Promising Young Woman
9. Lakeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah
10. Kingsley Ben-Adir – One Night in Miami…
Honourable Mentions: Adarsh Gourav – The White Tiger; Yeri Han – Minari; Tom Holland The Devil All the Time; Delroy Lindo Da 5 Bloods; John Magaro – First Cow; Anya Taylor-Joy – Emma.Evan Rachel Wood – Kajillionaire; Steven Yeun – Minari
BEST CRAFT (Directing, Editing)
1. Eliza Hittman, Scott Cummings – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
2. Florian Zeller, Yorgos Lamprinos – The Father
3. Kelly Reichardt – First Cow
4. Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
5. Aaron Sorkin, Alan Baumgarten – The Trial of the Chicago 7
Honourable Mentions: George C. Wolfe, Andrew Mondshein – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Lee Isaac Chung, Harry Yoon – Minari; Emerald Fennell, Frédéric Thoraval – Promising Young Woman; Darius Marder, Mikkel E.G. Nielsen – Sound of Metal; James Sweeney, Keith Funkhouser – Straight Up
BEST FILM
1. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
2. Sound of Metal     
3. The Father                                 
4. Minari
5. Nomadland
6. First Cow
7. The Trial of the Chicago 7
Honourable Mentions: Kajillionaire; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Straight Up

One Night in Miami… (2020)

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In the aftermath of Cassius Clay’s defeat of Sonny Liston in 1964, the boxer meets with Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown to change the course of history in the segregated South. (Letterboxd)
A snappy film (filler character intros aside) with a unique historical/thematic approach to the plight of Black people in the 60s. It’s well-acted (Ben-Adir’s multi-faceted turn is a highlight) and looks good, but while Clay’s youthful energy and Brown’s quiet wisdom each pair nicely with the main sparring partners X and Cooke to create some more interesting interplay, they ultimately feel like spectators to the film’s dramatic centre, so a tighter focus in the script would’ve been good.
7/10 (Good)